Somebody’s Whistling Past the Graveyard: Might be Us, Probably it’s Them


John Cassidy writes,

It is often remarked that [Trump’s] base is rock solid. But is that still true? The latest poll from Quinnipiac University indicated that Trump’s support among white voters without a college degree fell from fifty-seven per cent in June to forty-nine per cent in July. And his disapproval rating went from thirty-six per cent to forty-seven per cent. …

Evidently, the thinking [among Republican strategists] is to use Trump to boost turnout in areas where he is popular, but to keep him away from latte-sipping Republicans in the ’burbs. This may sound like a reasonable idea, but it’s impractical. There’s no keeping him away from anywhere. Whenever he says or does anything, he dominates the media agenda nationwide, and he winds up on televisions, computer screens, and smartphone screens. It’s fanciful to imagine that he could spend September and October whipping up his diehard supporters at rallies in places such as Charleston, West Virginia, and Bismarck, North Dakota, without entering the consciousness of Republican voters in the areas surrounding Chicago, Columbus, and Philadelphia.

The G.O.P. can’t escape the old truism that midterm elections are largely referendums on the President. With a lightning rod like Trump in the White House, the saying may apply doubly this year. Of course, things could change between now and Election Day. But, with less than three months to go, it’s looking like House Speaker Paul Ryan and roughly three dozen other House Republicans knew what they were doing when they announced that they would retire instead of seek reëlection this year.